German Christmas market at Alexanderplatz

Berlin is very dark and boring in December, but the Christmas markets are here to compensate for that. It’s fascinating to see Alexanderplatz turning into a bustling club for this month. Yes, that’s the feeling when they put up a huge bar in the middle of the square and a DJ is playing hits. We had three big glasses of Glühwein each.




Then we took a walk (with our glühweins) to the other side of Alexa, where a moving tivoli settles each Christmas. Lots of people, but no long lines to the attractions.




This is going to sound quite a bit prejudiced, but ever since I was a child I’ve learned that the people who run this kind of traveling tivoli fairs are drunks, usually from some Eastern European country. If they didn’t travel with the fair, they would probably be beggars. Like I said, it’s probably just prejudices, but I always keep in mind that security isn’t their biggest priority. When we saw one of these people passing by, and looking just like a beggar, I told my friend this theory. He said that this was common knowledge, he had had the same view since he was a child. But he meant that this uncertainty regarding the security added to the thrill when going in the otherwise somewhat bleak attractions.

So we started with this one: Voodoo Jumper (5 euro) – the only attraction where we had to wait a bit:


It was wonderful, especially with three big glühweins in your body.


Passing Break Dance, which I saw in München on the Oktoberfest in 2008:


Then we went in this thing (4 euro). It didn’t look as fun as Voodoo Jumper, but since the carriage turned around 360 degrees, your body got a bigger shock and thus it was actually more fun. Note that there is no fence separating the moving attraction from the onlooking people:


And here’s the video of Voodoo Jumper and that other thing:

Without ownership, work suffers

“It’s dangerous to work in environments or for companies where you aren’t tied directly to the results of your efforts”, Tanner Christensen at 99u writes, and quotes Paul Rand:

It has been shown that the system which regards esthetics as irrelevant, which separates the artist from his product, which fragments the work of the individual, which creates by committee, and which makes mincemeat of the creative process will, in the long run, diminish not only the product but the maker as well.

Tanner elaborates:

When we produce work that we aren’t directly tied to, we miss-out on the opportunity to associate who we are as workers with the work itself. (…) In such circumstances, we eventually lose sight of what it means to do our best work and we can be led to forget what we’re capable of entirely.

To do our best work then, we must work only where our creative processes are prized and where we (and everyone else) know exactly which part of the outcome we’re responsible for.

Very true.

Så “kapar” du en mejladress

Ekot rapporterar att Carl Bildts mejladress blivit “kapad”.

Suck, Ekot. Suck!

Vem som helst kan skriva in vilket namn och vilken mejladress som helst i “från”-fältet i mejlprogrammet. Man kan alltså hur enkelt som helst utge sig för att vara en annan avsändare. Dock får man inga svar på sådana mejl, eftersom man inte har tillgång till den mejladress man skrev in i “från”-fältet. Dvs jag kan låtsas skicka mejl från “”, men jag kommer inte få några svar på mina mejl, för de går naturligtvis till den riktige Jan Helin.

Så funkar mejl, Ekot!

Och i fallet Carl Bildt är det ett välkänt spam, här är versionen jag själv fick för någon vecka sedan från någon som utgav sig för att vara min vän och kollega Carl-Michael på Vertigo:


Spammarna (scammarna) har dock varit lite finurliga. Eftersom de inte har tillgång till Carl-Michaels mejl (de har ju bara skrivit in hans mejladress i “från”-fältet) så har de lagt till ett “svara till”-fält och där angett en annan mejladress som de själva har reggat. Denna mejladress, reggad på domänen i stället för, är väldigt lik Carl-Michaels riktiga mejladress:


Lik – inte samma. Ingen har kapat Carl-Michaels mejladress.

Och troligtvis har ingen “kapat” Carl Bildts mejladress, som Ekot påstår.

Däremot kan det vara ett brott att utge sig för att vara en annan människa, men det är faktiskt en helt annan sak.

Uppdatering: Herregud, nyheten är ju på förstasidorna i hela Sverige. Verkar vara en DN-artikel (som kommer fram till ungefär det jag skriver här) som blivit TT-notis och nu toppar SvD och gänget.

Magazine Monday: パチンコ必勝ガイド


I bought Pachinko Hissho Guide in Japan last autumn because of its cover. I didn’t realize until later that it’s a pachinko magazine, apparently first published in 1988. I’ve never tried pachinko, and none of my Japanese friends do it. But the cover is amazing. Just as bustling as the pachinko parlours, like this one in Sendai:

Pachinko parlour in Sendai, Japan. Photo by Karl Andersson.


The content too is a rush of light and color, just what you need in the autumn. Various pachinko machines are explained in a mix of editorial content and ads. The ads that are not pachinko-related are for penis enlargement, prostitution and – quite sweet – cat cafés.


  • 必殺仕事人 = deadly working men (contract killers?), a Japanese drama from 1979 that had a remake in 2014
  • お祭りわっしょい = Festival, yippie!
  • ST & 通常時 = ST (?) & normal hours (ST = special time?)
  • 演出数値 = performance value? (something pachinko specific, according to my tandem partner)
  • 100連発!! = 100 gunfire/bombardment (jackpot?)


The nationwide introduced important action “Festival, yippie” quickly becomes naked (?!) (explained in a way that leaves nothing uncovered = naked?)


There’s definitely no way to avoid accomplishing the performance value of the starmine’s 100 gunfire! (?)


We also offer a premium performance introduction!

There’s a website too:









This is an ad for Hills Tower Clinic, a “male clinic” which offers various penis enlargements. My tandem partner explained that the guy on the photo is famous AV actor Taka Katou (加藤鷹), who according to wikipedia has a 17 cm long penis when erect. The offer in the middle is for extending the length of the penis by 3 to 8 cm (!), which costs 150,000 yen (currently 1,042 euro).

Six points explain the advantages of the clinic:

  1. It’s a male clinic and the staff is all male.
  2. Phone and email consultation, as well as counseling, are all free of charge.
  3. By appointment only and private rooms protect your privacy.
  4. Examination and treatment are finished in one day, no need for a hospital stay.
  5. Before the treatment we will explain clearly about the appropriate costs.
  6. After the treatment we offer a thorough 24 hour “after care” free of charge.

A little manga featuring Mr Katou explains the four steps to a longer penis:


  1. 無料電話相談 Free phone consultation
  2. 予約・来院 Appointment, visit the clinic
  3. 無料カウンセリング Free counseling
  4. 施術治療 Surgery treatment

There are 10 Hills Tower Clinics, you can visit them here. The three words in their slogan or motto is 安心、安全、満足 = peace of mind, safety, satisfaction.



Up to 60 minutes for free


Wives exclusive use 2 shot dial (?)


Meet nearby wives


They are hiding from their husbands …


These slutty wives are flowing over with elegance and will fulfill your dreams.

According to my tandem partner, both the sex line and the male clinic may be enterprises run by the yakuza.

Det näst värsta

Jag tror att det bästa för ett barn är att växa upp med en pappa och en mamma. Men jag tror att det är bättre för ett barn att ha två föräldrar av samma kön än att leva som gatubarn på en soptipp i Peru.

Caroline Krook, biskop emerita och invigningstalare på Pride 2004, visar prov på en oerhörd vidsynthet (Aftonbladet 28 juli 2004)

Vad får svenskar göra utomlands?

Hier bewacht Sie ASK

Beatrice Ask 2014 (rättspolitisk talesperson, Moderaterna):

Det vore förfärligt om människor blir straffade för att de har haft ett homosexuellt förhållande i Sverige, eller för att en kvinna gått ”opassande” klädd, eller har genomfört en abort i Sverige.

Beatrice Ask 2010 (då justitieminister):

Ett särskilt ansvar har svenska staten för de egna medborgare som begår brott utomlands. Svenska medborgare kan också dömas i Sverige för sådana brott.

I det första fallet handlar det förstås om den nya regeringens förslag att kriminalisera sexköp utomlands. Ask verkar vara emot detta av principiella skäl, men gör tydligen undantag för vissa brott enligt det andra citatet, som handlar om sexbrott mot barn. Hon förordar alltså i praktiken en skala, där vissa fenomen som är lagliga i utlandet kan straffas i Sverige, medan andra inte kan det. Det är oklart om inköp av en viss typ av serietidningar i Japan eller Tyskland hör till de brott som kan straffas i Sverige.

I SVT-artikeln noterar jag att såväl Folkpartiet som KD är emot förslaget av praktiska skäl (det “är inte att använda resurserna på bästa sätt” respektive lagen blir “tandlös”). Av partierna i artikeln är det förutom M bara SD som är principiellt emot att “blanda sig i andra länders lagstiftning”.

(Att sexköp ska vara olagligt i Sverige tycker alla åtta riksdagspartier, även SD. Flera partier vill skärpa lagen ytterligare, även SD.)

När jag bodde i Prag på 90-talet berättade mina amerikanska klasskamrater att det var olagligt för dem att bo på ett visst hotell i Prag (!) för att hotellet ägdes av ett företag i ett land som USA hade sanktioner mot, i detta fall Libyen. Jag var chockad över hur USA kunde styra sina medborgare utomlands. Som jag förstod det skulle de kunna straffas för att ha rökt eller åtminstone köpt kubanska cigarrer i utlandet, om detta kunde bevisas.

Femton år senare diskuterar vi alltså samma system i Sverige. Vi får visserligen röka kubanska cigarrer i utlandet, men får vi röka gräs?

Mauerfall 2014, part 2: Ballonaktion!

Last night, the evening of the 9 November 2014, we walked along the light border from Bethaniendamm to Schillingbrücke, where we waited for the balloons to be released, one per second, starting at Brandenburger Tor.

Each balloon had a pater who would release it, we met Eric from Finland.

Excited atmosphere, lots of cheering when the balloon releasing chain finally reached us. Some balloons wouldn’t go off and the chain was temporarily stopped. I guess the actual wall also had parts that were harder to tear down, so the symbolical balloon event reflected the fall of the wall quite well, I think. Especially when the girl sitting on someone’s shoulders releases the last stuck balloon and everyone cheers.








And here is the video from Mauerfall 2009 – the 20th anniversary – when we watched the dominoaktion at Brandenburger Tor:

Some design changes

As you can see, I’ve done some changes to my blog’s exterior. The biggest change is that the photos come out much bigger since I deleted the sidebar. As you might (not) remember, I have a beef with sidebars:

  • May 2012: “Remember how cool it used to be to have 3 columns?”
  • August 2013: “I remember in 2008 when it was fancy to have two sidebars”

Hopefully they’re gone for good this time!

The photos are now displayed almost 1000 pixels wide. It’s the same photos as before, because for the last two years I’ve saved them as 1000 px wide. All photos from my autumn in Japan were even saved as 2000 px wide. I’m happy I was so foresighted – old posts now look great.

Being able to display images big and wide makes the blog a perfect alternative to ad-based and content-restricting services such as Flickr. A friend who uses Flickr (you know who you are!) sometimes links to one of his photos, probably without knowing what I see on my screen when I click his link:

Flickr advertisement between photos

Yes, Flickr inserts ads between my friend’s photos. Every fifth photo in his gallery is an ad. This is of course totally okay, it’s how Flickr/Yahoo makes money. But personally I don’t want to be part of such a business model – imagine if one fifth of my hundreds of photos from Japan was an ad such as the one above! – and so I self-host my photos on this blog instead.

Graphics-wise I’ve abandoned the retro colors which were so hot in 2013 for a gaussian blurish, iossian feel, let be without the super-duper-thin Helvetica.

The blog remains a public recording of superficial events, a notebook for spontaneous thoughts and the occasional quote, and – at times – my studying and biking partner.

Oh, and if you noticed that the blog was gone for two days (3 and 4 November 2014), it was because my domain expired and was deactivated! I was even without email, a weird feeling, not entirely bad though. It took two days for Binero to reply to my support ticket and renew the domain (as they should have done in the first place, before it expired!).

Mauerfall 2014

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, the city has created a “light border” where the wall used to go, at least for a small (but still pretty long) 15 km stretch of it. The light border is made up of 8,000 glowing balloons, which will be released on the evening of the 9th November, which was the date of the Mauerfall.

Today I took a walk with some friends along a short part of the light border, starting at the light installation’s start at Bornholmer Straße. It was a wonderful autumn day. I lost my friends somewhere in Mauerpark, but hadn’t planned to walk the whole 15 km anyway (which they had), so I went home at Brunnenstraße, where the outdoor wall museum starts.


The famous Bösebrücke on Bornholmer Straße, where the border guards first started to let people cross the border from east to west on the evening of 9th November 1989. The billboard advertising a musical about these events couldn’t have got a better placement.


On Bösebrücke just outside S-Bornholmer Straße. This is the first of the balloons.



Every here and there: Big screens showing footage from the GDR times and from the fall of the wall.



Schwedter Steg – a pedestrian bridge which was built where the wall used to go.




Mauerpark, a park which was built on the “Todesstreife” – the death strip.


A part of the wall in Mauerpark has been saved and is now a graffiti wall, free for everyone to paint on.


Bernauer Straße between Mauerpark and Brunnenstraße.



Bernauer Straße by Brunnenstraße – this is where the outdoor museum about the Berlin wall starts, and where I went home. (I’ve seen it many times and it’s very good, but this would do for me today!)